Citrus sinensis is the everyday orange that you see in fruit stands and even in your kitchen. This kind of citrus is more commonly known as sweet orange. And you will be glad to know that under the right conditions, you can grow classic orange trees in pots and create a mini-orchard of your own.
Step 1 – Purchase Grafted Sweet Orange Cultivars
Sweet orange is generally cultivated from seedlings, unlike its bitter counterpart which is usually grown from seeds. Well, starting your sweet orange tree from seeds is fine, but you will have to wait for a much longer growth period. Besides, buying grafted cultivars gives you most, if not all the desirable qualities derived from several sub-varieties of sweet oranges.
Step 2 – Ready the Pots
When it comes to Citrus sinensis, you can use any type of pots. However, for best results go for either clay or ceramic pots. Not only are these pots aesthetically pleasant, they also prevent the rapid transfer of heat that can ruin plant roots. Make sure your pots are big enough to hold a tree that is about 10 feet in height.
Step 3 – Ensure Proper Drainage in the Pots
If your pots do not have holes, you have to drill small holes at the bottom. This is to make sure that your pots will have good drainage. Use carbide tipped drill for ceramic pots. Drill slowly to avoid cracking the pots.
Step 4 – Fill Pots with Soil
All citrus plants favor heavy loamy soil with a pH measurement of around 5 or 6. For your pots, you can use compost made of loam, decayed leaves, grit, sand, and some charcoal to attain the perfect soil balance. Never put manure as fertilizer.
Step 5 – Transplant Seedlings into Pots
After preparing the pots, begin transferring your Citrus sinensis seedlings into them. Make sure to transplant them only during springtime. Carefully remove the seedlings from their old plastic containers and plant them in the pots.
Step 6 – Fertilize Your Young Orange Trees
To really encourage proper root development in young orange trees, add extra amounts of phosphorous into the pot. During the growing years, always use fertilizers that have phosphorous.
Step 7 – Water Your Citrus Trees
Citrus sinensis and all other citrus plants hate too much water. So, always remember to water your potted sweet oranges deeply but not frequently. You will know that you have watered deeply when water flows out of the holes at the bottom of the pots.
Step 8 – Give Your Trees Ample Sunlight
Sweet oranges love sunlight. During summertime, put your potted citrus trees outdoors, in an area that is sunny but protected from debris and other objects.
Step 9 – Protect Plants from the Cold
During the winter, put your potted plants inside a glasshouse. This will protect them from the cold without you putting them in dark places.
Step 10 – Prune the Young Trees
As the months go by, you will need to prune your Citrus sinensis. Take out irregular growths to make your trees look a lot less crammed. It should also enhance proper air circulation.
Step 11 – Fertilize Your Grown Citrus Trees
As your trees grow, nutrients in the soil will run low. Apply fertilizer once every couple of years, depending on soil test results.
Step 12 – Remove Weeds and Other Plants
Always remove weeds and other tiny plants that can compete with your fully grown Citrus sinensis tree for food and other nutrients. Remember, sweet oranges are slow growing trees. You have to be patient before you can reap the rewards.